How to stop diarrhea fast at home

Home Remedies for Diarrhea
Rehydration is the key to prevent dehydration due to diarrhea. Drink plenty of water, clear juices, and clear broths.

Diarrhea is generally a self-limiting illness and specific treatment is not generally necessary. Treatments are generally directed to prevent it from worsening and restore the fluid and electrolyte (like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium) losses from the body.

Following home remedies may help in resolving mild diarrhea.

1. Hydrate yourself well

Loss of water and electrolytes from the body results in dehydration. If not treated appropriately, dehydration can become serious, especially in children. If a breastfed baby develops diarrhea, breastfeeding must be continued, and the doctor’s opinion must be sought.

Rehydration is the key to prevent dehydration due to diarrhea. Drink plenty of water, clear juices, and clear broths. If there is mild diarrhea, you can even drink electrolyte-rich sports drinks, such as Gatorade.? Avoid electrolyte drinks if you have large-volume watery stools. Make sure you pass clear urine at least three to four times a day despite diarrhea.

Pediatric rehydration drinks (Pedialyte, Enfalyte, or Gastrolyte) should be initiated in children and babies with diarrhea.

You can prepare a rehydration drink at home by just mixing simple kitchen items, such as salt, sugar, and water. The rule of thumb is mixing a pinch of table salt, a fist of sugar and in a liter of boiled and cooled water. This is to be sipped every 20 minutes. Oral rehydration formulations are also readily available at the drugstores. You just have to prepare the mixture in water proportionately as instructed on its label.

2. Use probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms that are available in foods, such as yogurt and kefir, as well as in supplement form. Their role is to replenish the loss of beneficial gut bacteria that are lost during diarrheal episodes. The beneficial gut bacteria help in keeping the digestive system healthy by maintaining the normal functioning of the bowels. Intake of probiotics might help shorten a mild bout of diarrhea.

3. Follow the BRAT diet

The BRAT diet is a type of bland diet that includes the following four foods:

  • Bananas
  • Rice
  • Apple sauce
  • Toast

All these foods are low in fiber that adds firmness to the stool and prevents it from getting watery. Bananas also help restore any potassium lost through diarrhea.

The BRAT diet does not provide all the nutrition and should be taken only during the first 24-48 hours of diarrhea. Gradually, other foods such as baked chicken breasts, chicken soup, and oatmeal can be introduced into the diet.

A study conducted showed that a rice-based diet with green bananas helped to pass of well-formed stools in children.

Other anecdotal home remedies, such as apple cider vinegar and turmeric, have also been shown to be beneficial in treating diarrhea. Apple cider vinegar and turmeric may not be suitable for everyone with diarrhea. For example, turmeric is known to interact with blood-thinning medicines, such as Warfarin.

Home remedies are not for everyone. Like medications, they can also cause unexpected side-effects. If you are on medications for some other illness, it is advisable to ask your doctor before trying any home remedies, such as taking apple cider vinegar and turmeric. Untimely medical help by completely relying on home remedies can land you in serious complications of diarrhea, such as severe dehydration.

What should you not eat if you have diarrhea?

Certain foods can make diarrhea worse. It is best to avoid diarrhea. These foods include:

  • Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and ice cream
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Caffeine-containing products, such as coffee
  • Fatty/oily foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Fruits, such as apples, pears, and peaches
  • Drinks and foods containing fructose
  • Any eatable that contains sweeteners, such as Sorbitol, Mannitol, and Xylitol

When to seek medical help for diarrhea?

It is better to visit the doctor right away if you have got diarrhea for 3 or more days. Other signs and symptoms that necessitate getting medical help (and not trying home remedies) for diarrhea include:

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Medically Reviewed on 12/4/2020
References
Aranda-Michel J, Giannella RA. Acute Diarrhea: A Practical Review. Am J Med. 1999;106(6):670-676. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10378626/

NIH. Eating, diet, & nutrition for diarrhea. November 2016. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/diarrhea/eating-diet-nutrition

Verna EC, Lucak S. Use of Probiotics in Gastrointestinal Disorders: What To Recommend? Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2010;3(5):307-19. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21180611/

FamilyDoctor.Org. BRAT Diet: Recovering From an Upset Stomach. https://familydoctor.org/brat-diet-recovering-from-an-upset-stomach/

Rabbani GH, Teka T, Zaman B, et al. Clinical studies in persistent diarrhea: dietary management with green banana or pectin in Bangladeshi children. Gastroenterology. September 2001;121(3):554-60. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11522739/